The purgatory portion of the Jekyll Island Convention Center redevelopment saga has come to an end (or so it would appear) with word that a partnership will begin construction on a 200-room Westin hotel to anchor the site. Even the real estate development community could be challenged in trying to remember the complete history of this project, riven as it was by politics, local opposition to change and the real estate crash. Meltdown victim Linger Longer Communities (they of Reynolds Plantation) was originally set to master develop the entire project. But a prolonged scuffle over plans with island residents inexplicably set on protecting empty parking lots and ugly, outdated and under-used existing buildings combined with the recession led to LL's displacement. Occasional news of new players and plans has surfaced over the past couple of years, but the announcement of a development partnership between local developer Jekyll Landmark Associates and New Castle Hotels & Resorts with Starwood's Westin flag attached represents the first significant sign of progress in as long as we can remember. Hopefully this will beget more improvements for Jekyll, given both the State and the people of Georgia's interests in the 'crown jewel' of the coast. But in the meantime, we still prefer St. Simons.
· Starwood Planning 200-Key Westin Convention Center Hotel on Jekyll Island [citybiz Real Estate]